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Trippy NASA image shows dramatic Mars mesa

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter zeroes in on a fascinating mesa that looks beautiful and alien at the same time.

This Mars mesa is quite the sight.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

When it comes to cool names for places, we have to give props to "Noctis Labyrinthus," a region of Mars at the western end of a massive valley called Valles Marineris. The name translates to "labyrinth of the night," and the area got its moniker thanks to its exotic maze-like formations. A new NASA image gives a close-up view of a wild-looking mesa found there.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped the shot of the mesa, which is about a quarter of a mile (0.4 kilometers) across. "Heavily eroded, with clusters of boulders and sand dunes on its surface, this layered mesa is probably comprised of sedimentary deposits that are being exhumed as it erodes," NASA says.

NASA released the image on Wednesday. It also shows a series of sand dunes surrounding the mesa, which just adds to the dramatic nature of the landscape.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched in 2005 and is currently in orbit around Mars on a mission to survey the Red Planet and investigate its history of water. NASA also recently released another mysterious MRO image showing what might be an impact crater.